The Real Reason Zach Kassian Left his Team in the Playoffs

TJ Tucker
March 24, 2024  (6:29 PM)

Former NHLer Zack Kassian playing for Sparta Praha
Photo credit: Profimedia

Former NHLer Zack Kassian recently left Sparta Praha in Czechia and former NHLer Jiri Tlusty is adding some clarity on the real reason behind Kassian's departure.

Former NHLer Jiri Tlusty Explains Why Zack Kassian Left his Team

Back in October, It was announced by the NHL that Zach Kassian had retired after 12 seasons in the league.
"To play in the NHL is one thing, but to make a 12-year career of it is pretty special," Kassian told the NHL Players' Association. "From coaches to equipment staff and fellow players I've met along the way, I've made so many relationships that are going to last a lifetime."

Fast forward a few months, It was announced that Zack Kassian had come out of retirement to sign with a Czech club. Kassian left North America immediately to join Sparta Praha, one of the top clubs in Czech Extraliga. Sparta was thrilled with the signing.
However, Kassian left the team after playing just eight regular season games. He flew home while Sparta prepared to start the post season. Although the team said he had headed home for family reasons, it seemed Zack Kassian's career could tragically be over at the age of 34.
"Canadian Forward Zack Kassian is leaving our club for personal reasons. By mutual agreement, he will no longer continue in Sparta. Today, he flew back to his home country to visit his family. With regard to the player's privacy and the ongoing playoffs, HC Sparta Prague will not discuss the termination of the contract in more detail. We wish Zack all the best in his personal and professional life."

Enter former NHLer Jiri Tlusty. After ending his pro career in 2017 following close to 450 regular season games in the league, Tlusty became an analyst in his home country of Czechia, covering the Czech Extraliga. In a recent segment, he said while the official reason was family, Zack Kassian's decision to leave is because he was sitting in the stands rather than playing.
"He played x seasons in the NHL, he thought he would come to the Czech Republic, and without any fitness he would be able to play our competition. That doesn't work anymore, the league is quality. Sparta saw he didn't have the fitness, they put him out. He thought it was going to be completely different, then they didn't take him on the trip to Liberec and I think that was the last one."

Perhaps Zack Kassian can return to pro hockey after getting himself in shape. However, it seems like this is officially the end of the line once again.
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The Real Reason Zach Kassian Left his Team in the Playoffs

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